Corey Ellis, a two-time mayoral challenger and former 3rd Ward Councilman, is running for Albany Common Council President.
“I want to give people hope with my vision for where this city can go,” Ellis told The Alt shortly after Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s State of the City address (which was delayed and disrupted by protests by social justice activists and union members).
Ellis, who currently works as a political/community coordinator for New York State Nurses Union, is the first to announce in the Council President race this year, but is almost certainly not the last. Other veteran County Legislators and Common Council members are weighing runs.
Current Council President Carolyn McLaughlin announced her challenge to Mayor Sheehan earlier this month. Councilman Frank Commisso, an outspoken critic of Sheehan, is expected to join the mayor’s race, but he has yet to announce.
Ellis’s entrance into the Council President’s race is likely to lead to speculation about which Mayoral candidate he supports.
Ellis told The Alt he isn’t concerned with the mayor’s race at the moment, and said he is running on his accomplishments during his time on the Council and what he sees as his ability to act as a bridge between concerned community members, activists and City Hall.
“Since I ran for mayor the progressive vision I presented for the city has proven to be correct. I see what has been going on in the city and we need more diversity represented in our government. People need to see someone out there trying to bridge that gap. People don’t look at me as a politician but as someone who cares about his home town.”
Ellis says he has yet to do any fundraising.
As Councilman Ellis pushed plans and initiatives to deal with abandoned buildings, address lack of diversity in the fire department, and create public access TV, and introduced a measure requiring city department heads to live in the city. Some of those initiatives, such as public access TV and the residency requirement, were successful thanks to the backing of the public and a number of other council members.
Ellis ran for mayor in the 2009 Democratic primary against then long-term incumbent Jerry Jennings. Jennings triumphed 8,130 to 6,301–a margin much closer than many expected at the time. Ellis, emboldened by his performance, ran again in the general election but fell short 10,466 to 4,801.
Ellis has remained involved in politics. He is a 108th State Democratic Committee member, is an Albany County Executive Committee member and a former 11th Ward Leader.
Additional reporting by Katie Cusack